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Battery Types



TYPES OF RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES

Starting (Automotive) - Has many thin lead plates and is built to deliver hundreds of amps for a few seconds to start a car. It is designed to cycle only about 10% to 15% of its total capacity and recharge quickly from the alternator after discharging. It is not intended for the deep cycle service demanded by remote home power systems, and will fail fairly quickly when used in a deep-cycling application.

Deep Cycle (Marine) - Normally used for house batteries on boats and intended for prolonged discharges. It has heavier lead plates (sometimes due to variation in thickness, or to the use of a different lead alloy), to avoid damaging buckling caused by deep discharging. Due to the added weight of the plates, it has less surface charge than a starting battery and less cranking ability for any given size.

Dual Purpose Battery - A combination of the two types, designed for starting and deep-cycle applications.

CONSTRUCTION VARIATIONS OF THE LEAD CELL BATTERY

Wet/Flooded Cell - Uses a liquid electrolyte and can be recharged many times. The most common wet-cell battery is an automobile battery. It is available in two styles: serviceable and maintenance-free.

Gel Cell - Uses essentially the same chemistry as a wet/flooded cell, except that the electrolyte is in gelatin form and absorbed into the plates.

Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) - Uses a fiberglass-like separator to hold the electrolyte in place. The physical bond between the separator fibers, the lead plates, and the container makes it spill-proof and the most vibration and impact-resistant lead-acid battery available today. It uses almost the same voltage set-points as a wet/flooded cell and thus can be used as drop-in replacement for a wet/flooded cell. It is also referred to as a “starved electrolyte” battery.

INDUSTRY STANDARD BATTERY RATINGS

Cold Cranking Amps (CCA):  The number of amperes a battery can deliver at 0°F (-18°C) for 30 seconds, while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts, for a 12 volt battery. The higher the CCA rating, the greater the starting power of the battery.

Cranking Amps (CA):  Used to describe the discharge load in amperes which a new, fully charged battery at 32°F (0°C), can continuously deliver for 30 seconds and maintain a terminal voltage equal or greater than 1.2 volts per cell. It is sometimes referred to as Marine Cranking Amps (MCA).

Reserve Capacity (RC):  This is the number of minutes a fully charged 12 volt battery at 80°F will discharge 25 amperes until the battery drops below 10.5 volts. (10.5 volts or 1.75 volts per cell, is the fully discharged level for a 12 volt battery, at which point the battery needs to be recharged).

Ampere Hours (Ah): The amount of time, from the start to the end of discharge, multiplied by the discharge current. For example, if a battery can deliver 5 amperes for 20 hours, its 20-hour rate is 100 Ah. If a battery can deliver 10 amps for 5 hours, its 5-hour rate is 50 Ah.

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